Cotton, Linen, or Silk?
Pure cotton slings work fine for babies up to a year old, after that you will probably want a more supportive fabri, especially if you would like to carry your toddler for longer periods. I have found linen and silk to be among the best sling fabrics for toddlers. Linen is stronger and tougher than cotton, owing to the parallel arrangement of its fibres. Silk is also a strong natural fibre and is simply beautiful. Linen and silk are especially good in a double layer or an extra wide width. I found single layer slings in linen or linen blend (regular width) fine for my toddler until she was almost two. If you choose this style you will get a lot of use out of it. A double layer of silk is probably one of the most supportive fabric combinations although some people find them hot at the height of summer.
Linen is highly recommended for hot weather babywearing. Linen both absorbs and loses moisture rapidly, and can absorb quite a bit of moisture initially without feeling damp. This helps to keep you and your baby cool.
Hibaby ring sling are available in regular and extra wide width. Extra wide slings are great because your baby's weight is distributed over more fabric plus the shoulder has a slight padded feel because of the extra width. These slings are great for older babies and toddlers. Extra wide slings can be used for newborns but probably not in a cradle carry because the deeper pouch makes correct positioning tricky. However the tummy to tummy position is fine and many newborns prefer being upright over lying down.
All types of fabric I use are generally easily washable which is very important for anything around babies! Fabric care for cotton and linen blend slings is very easy. Simply wash on a gentle cycle on cold in a laundry bag and hang to dry. Linen and blends should only be washed with a liquid detergent. The addition of cotton to linen makes the fabric soft and they are not as prone to wrinkling as pure linen. Pure linen is great though. It wrinkles fairly easily but is a little more supportive which is a plus. To counter the wrinkles I iron my sling after every wash and hang on a hook when not in use - which keeps it fairly wrinkle free. Linen can feel a little stiffer/rougher when brand new but softens quickly with use and washing. The easiest way to care for silk is with spot cleaning (with a damp cloth) and occasional hand washing. Silk may also be dry cleaned. Machine washing on a gentle cycle is also possible but the silk will lose some of its sheen.
And lastly there are wrap conversions. This fabric is especially woven for babywearing, are generally thicker than other fabrics, and have just the right amount of give, so the fabric feels great on your shoulder. Wrap conversions are fantastic for heavy babies and toddlers. There are many choices from cotton to cotton blends and are generally easy to care for.
If you would like any other information on the fabrics I use. Please feel free to ask.
I love to sew. I have five curious and active kids who keep me busy!